Section 1 Now, therefore, be it enacted and ordained by the Mayor and Council of Federalsburg, Maryland that this Ordinance be adopted as follows:
Article I. Purpose and Intent
The purpose of this Section is to promote the public health, safety and general welfare of the citizens of the Town of Federalsburg. It is intended to be applicable to dangerous¾ dogs, as deŽned herein, including pit bulls¾, Rottweilers¾ and Dobermans¾¼ by ensuring responsible handling by their owners through registration, conŽnement, and liability insurance.
åArticle II. DeŽnitions.
(a)Dangerous dog means any dog that, because of its aggressive nature, training or characteristic behavior, presents a risk of serious physical harm or death to human beings, or would constitute a danger to human life, physical well-being, or property if not kept under the direct control of the owner. This deŽnition shall not apply to dogs utilized by law enforcement ofŽcers in the performance of their duties. The term dangerous dog¾ includes any dog that according to the record of Caroline County Animal Control or any law enforcement agency: (1)has aggressively bitten, attacked, endangered, or inicted serious injury on a human being on public or private property, (2)has severely injured or killed a domestic animal while off the owner¾s property, or (3)has been used primarily or in part for the purpose of dog Žghting, or is a dog trained for dog Žghting.
(b)Board of Animal Control consists of the chief of Police, one member of the Federalsburg Town Council, and one member of the public who has demonstrated a interest in the matter of animal control; (c)Director means the executive ofŽcer of the Board of Animal Control. Until a Director has been appointed by the Mayor, the Chief of Police shall act serve as Director. (d)Muzzle means a divise constructed of strong, soft material or of metal, designed to fasten over the mouth of an animal to prevent the animal from biting any person or other animal. (e)Pit bull dog means and includes any of the following dogs:
(1)The Staffordshire Bull Terrier Breed of dogs
(2)The American Staffordshire Terrrier breed of dogs.
(3)The American Pit Bull Terrier Breed of dogs
(4)Dogs that have the appearance and characteristics of being predominantly of the breeds of dogs known a Staffordshire Bull, American Pit Bull or American Staffordshire Terrier.
Article III. Procedure for Declaring a Dog Dangerous.
(a)Any adult person, including a law enforcement ofŽcer, may request under oath that a dog be classiŽed as dangerous by submitting a sworn, written complainnt to the Board of Animal Control, on a form approved by the Town Council. Upon receipt of such complaint, the Board of Animal Control shall notify the owner of the dog that a complaint has been Žled and that an investigation into the allegations as set forth in the complaint will be conducted. (b)At the conclusion of an investigation, the Board of Animal Control may:
(1)Determine that the dog is not dangerous and, if the dog is impounded, waive any impoundment fees incurrred and release the dog to its owner; or (2)determine that the dog is dangerous and order the owner to comply with the requirements for keeping dangerous dogs set forth in this Ordinance, and if the dog is impounded, release the dog to its owner after the owner has paid all fees incurrred for the impoundment. If all impoundment fees have not been paid with in ten (10) business days after a Žnal determination that a dog is dangerous, the Board of Animal Control may cause the dog to be humanely destroyed.
Article IV. NotiŽcation of Dangerous Dog Declaration.
(a)Within Žve (5) business days after the Board of Animal Control has declared a dog dangerous, the Town Clerk-Treasurer shall notify the owner by certiŽed mail of the dog¼s designation as a dangerous dog and any speciŽc restrictions and conditions for keeping the dog, as set forth in this Ordinance. The Town Clerk-Treasurer also shall notify the Police Department of the designation of any dog as a dangerous dog. Such notiŽcation shall describe the dog and specify any particular requirements or conditions placed upon the dog owner. If the notice by certiŽed mail is returned as unclaimed, notice to the owner shall be mailed by ordinary mail. (b)The notice shall inform the dog owner that he may request, in writing, a hearing to contest the Board¼s Žnding and designation within ten(10)business days after delivery of the dangerous dog declaration notice. (c)If the Town Clerk-Treasurer cannot with due diligence locate the owner of the dog that has been seized pursuant to this Ordinance, the Board of Animal Control shall cause the dog to be impounded for not less that ten (10) business days. If after ten (10) business days, the owner fails to claim the dog, the Board of Animal Control may cause the dog to be humanely destroyed.
ArticleV. Hearing On Dangerous Dog Declaration.
(a)The Board of Animal Control shall hold a hearing within Žfteen (15) business days after receiving the dog owner¼s written request for such a hearing. The Board shall provide notice of the date, time and location of the hearing to the dog owner by certiŽed mail and to the complainant by certiŽed mail. (b)At a hearing, all interested persons shall be given the opportunity to present evidence on the issue of the dog¼s dangerousness. Criteria to be considered in a hearing required by this Section shall include but not be limited to the following: (1)Provocation
(2)Severity of attack or injury to a person or domestic animal,
(3)Previous aggressive history of the dog,
(4)Observable behaviour of the dog,
(5)Site and circumstances of the incident, and
(6)Statements from interested parties.
(c)A determination at a hearing that the dog is in fact a dangerous dog shall subject the dog and its owner to the provisions of this Ordinance (d)Failure of the dog owner to request a hearing shall result in the dog being declared a dangerous dog and shall subject the dog and its owner to the provisions of this Ordinance.
Article VI. Appeal from Dangerous Dog Declaration.
If the Board of Animal Control determines that a dog is dangerous at the conclusion of a hearing conducted under Article V of this Ordinance, that decision shall be Žnal and binding unless the dog owner applies to a court of competent jurisdiction for any remedies that may be available within thiry (30) days after receiving notice that the dog has been declared dangerous. The appeal must be a trial de novo and shall be a civil proceeding for the purpose of afŽrming or reversing the Board¼s determination of dangerousness. Filing of said appeal shall not stay the determination that the dog has been declare dangerous.
Article VII. Keeping of Dangerous Dogs.
The keeping of a dangerous dog as deŽned in this Ordinance shall be subject to the following requirements; (a)Leash. No person having charge, custody, control or possession of a dangerous dog shall allow the dog to exit its kennel, pen or other proper enclosure unless such dog is securely attached to a leash no more than four(4)feet in length. No such person shall permit a dog to be kept on a chain, rope, or other type of leash outside its kennel or pen unless a person capable of controlling the dog is in physical control of the leash. (b)Muzzle It shall be unlawful for any owner or keeper of a dangerous dog to allow the dog to be outside of its proper enclosure unless it is necessary for the dog to receive veterinary care or exercise. In such cases, the dog shall wear a properly Žtted muzzle to prevent it from biting humans or other animals. Such muzzle shall not interfere with the dog¼s breathing or vision. (c)ConŽnement, Except when leashed as provided in this Section, a dangerous dog shall be securely conŽned indoors or conŽned in a locked pen or other secure enclosure that is suitable to prevent the entry of children and is designed to prevent the dog from escaping. The enclosed structure shall meet the following requirements: (1)The structure must have secure sides and a secure top, or all sides must be a least eight(8) feet high; (2)The structure must have a bottom permanently attached to the sides or the sides must be embedded not less that one (1)foot in the ground; and (3)The structure must be of such material and closed in such a manner that the dog cannot exit the enclosure on its own. (d)Indoor ConŽnement. No dangerous dog shall be kept on a porch, patio, or in any part of a house or struture that would allow the dog to exit such building on its own volition. In addition, no such dog shall be kept in a house or structure when the windows or screen doors are the only obstacle preventing the dog from exiting the structure. (e)Liability Insurance, Surety Bond. The owner of a dangerous dog shall present to the local law enforcement agency and Caroline Count Animal Control proof that he has procured liability insurance or a surety bond in the amournt of not less than one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000)covering any damage or injury that may be caused by such dog. The policy shall contain a provision requiring that the Town be notiŽed immediately by the agent issuing the policy in the event that the insurance policy is canceled, terminated, or expires. In the event that the owner proves to the satisfaction of the local law enforcement agency that insurance is not available, he may pay a non-refundable case fee in the amount of one thousand dollars ($1000)to the Town. (f)NotiŽcation of Escape or Attack. The owner or keeper of a dangerous dog shall notify the local law enforcement agency and Caroline County Animal Control immediately if such dog escapes from its enclosure or restraint and is at large. Such immediate notiŽcation shall also be required if the dog bites or attacks a person or domestic animal. (g)jFailure to Comply. It shall be unlawful and a misdemeanor for any owner of a dangerous dog to fail to comply with the requirements and conditions set forth in this Section. Any dog found to be in violation of this Section shall be subject to immediate seizure and impoundment. In addition, failure to comply with the requirements and conditions set forth in this Ordinance shall result in the revocation of the dog¼s license and the permit providing the keeping of such animal
Article VIII. Permit and Tag Required for a Dangerous Dog.
(a)The owner of a dangerous dog shall, within three (3)business days after the classiŽcation of the dog as dangerous or upon acquisition of the dog, obtain an annual permit from the Clerk-Treasurer to harbor the dog. The fee for such permit shall be one hundred dollars ($100)per year. (b)The permit for maintaining a dangerous dog shall be presented to an animal control ofŽcer upon demand.
Article IX. Pit Bull, Rottweilers and Dobermans Presumed Dangerous.
There shall be an irrefutable presumption that a Pit Bull, Rottweiler and Doberman is a dangerous dog and is therefore subject to the requirements of this Ordinance.
Article X. NotiŽcation of Intent to Impound.
(a)When a Federalsburg law enforcement person intends to impound a dog declared to be dangerous for violation of this Ordinance, he shall notify the owner or custodian of the dog, by personal delivery or by certiŽed mail, of the intended impoundment at least Žve (5) business days prior to the intended impoundment, except as provided below in Article XI regarding immediate impoundment. (b)The notice of intent to impound shall inform the owner or custodian of the dog that he may request in writing, within Žve (5)business days prior to the intended impoundment, a hearing before the Board of Animal Control to contest the intended impoundment and Žnding of a violation. (c)Upon request by the owner or custodian of the dog for a hearing pursuant to subsection(b), a hearing shall be held within ten(10)business days after the request for a hearing. Notice of the date, time and location of the hearing shall be provided by certiŽed mail to the dog¼s owner or custodian requesting such hearing. (d)If the owner or custodian requests a hearing pursuant to subsection(b), no impoundment shall take place until conclusion of the hearing, except as authorized in Article XI.
Article XI. Immediate Impoundment.
(a)A dog declared to be dangerous may be immediately impounded without a pre-impoundment hearing when a law enforcement person having jurisdiction in the matter or any County Animal Control OfŽcer determines such immediate impoundment is necessary for the protection of public health or safety. Such immmediate impoundment may be ordered when the dog bites a person or domestic animal or for failure of keeping the dangerous dog conŽned or leashed as required under Article VII of this Ordinance. (b)The owner or custodian of the dog immediately impounded pursuant to subsection(a)shall be notiŽed of the impoundment by certiŽed mail within Žve(5)business days after the dog¼s impoundment. (c)The notice of impoundment shall inform the owner or custodian of the dog that he may request, in writing, a hearing to contest the impoundment within Žve (5)business days after the mailing of the notice of impoundment. (d)Upon request by the owner or custodian of the dog for a hearing under subsection (c), a hearing within ten (10) business days after such request shall be held by the Board of Animal Control,. Notice of the date, time and location of the hearing shall be provided by certiŽed mail to the dog owner requesting the hearing.
Article XII. Impoundment Hearing.
(a)If after a hearing on impoundment, the Board of Animal Control Žnds no violation of Article VII of this Ordiance, or that the dog has not bitten an individual or domestic animal, the dog shall be returned to its owner or custodian if already impounded, or shall not be impounded as intended. (b)Incident to the Žndings and conclusions made at the impoundment hearing, the Board of Animal Control may impose reasonable restrictions and conditions for the maintenance of the dog to ensure the health and safety of the public and the animal. Such conditions may include, but shall not be limited to: (1)Posting of bond or other proof of ability to respond in damages;
(2)SpeciŽc requirement as to size, construction and design of a kennel in which to house the dog; (3)Requirements as to type and method of restraint and/or muzzling of the dog;
(4)Photo identiŽcation or permanent marking of the dog for purposes of identiŽcation;and (5)Payment of reasonable fees to recover the costs incurred by the Town in ensuring compliance with this Ordinance.
Article XIII. Destruction.
(a)The Board of Animal Control or its designee may order the destruction of a dog that it determines to be extremely dangerous to public health or safety, a dog that has made an extremely vicious attack upon an individual, or a dog declared dangerous whose owner is unable or unwilling to adequately restrain it. (b)The Board of Animal Control shall give written notice by certiŽed mail of its intention to destroy such dog to the owner or custodian of the dog, who thereafter may request in writing, within ten(10)business days after delivery of such notice, a hearing to contest the intended destruction. If notice by certiŽed mail is returned as unclaimed, notice shall be sent by Žrst-class mail to the owner or custodian of the dog. (c)If no hearing is requested pursuant to subsection (b), the dog shall be destroyed pursuant to aplicable provisions of law. (d)If a hearing is requested pursuant to subsection (b), such hearing shall be held with in ten(10)business days after the request; and the dog shall not be destroyed prior to the conclusion of the hearing.
(e)The dog owner shall be responsible for payment of all boarding costs and other fees as may be required to the Town to humanely and safely keep the animal during any legal proceeding.
Article XIV. Appeal from Order of Humane Destruction.
If the Board of Animal Control orders a dangerous dog to be humanely destroyed, that decision shall be Žnal unless the dog owner applies to a court of competent jurisdiction for any remedies that may be available within Žteen (15) days after receiving notice of the destruction order. If an appeal is timely Žled, the Board shall suspend the destruction order pending the Žnal determination of the court . The appeal hearing must be a trial de novo and shall be a civil proceeding for the purposes of afŽrming or reversing the Board¼s destruction order.
Article XV. Change of Ownership.
(a)Any owner of a dangerous dog who sells or otherwise transfers ownership, custody or residence of the dog shall within ten (10) business days after such change of ownership or residence, provide written notiŽcation of the dog¼s classiŽcation as dangerous to the person receiving the dog. The previous owner shall furnish a copy of such notiŽcation to the Board of Animal Control along with written acknowledgement by the new owner of his receipt of such notiŽcation. THe Board of Animal Control shall notify the Police Department of any change of ownership , custody or residence of the dog with in three (3) business days after receiving the required information from the previous owner. (b)Any person receiving a dog classiŽed as dangerous must obtain the required permit, tag and enclosure prior to acquisition of the dog. The new owner shall comply fully with the provisions of this Ordinace pertaining to obtaining liability insurance, payment of fees, and maintenance, control and ownership of a dangerous dog.
Article XVI. Continuation of Dangerous Dog Declaration.
Any dog that has been declared dangerous by any agency or department of this town, another municipality, county or state shall be subject to the provision of this Ordinance for the remainder of its life. The person owning or having custody of any dog designated as a dangerous dog by any municipality, county or state government shall notify the Board of Animal Control of the dog¼s address and conditions of maintenance within Žve (5)days of moving the animal into the Town of Federalsburg. The restrictions and conditions of maintenance of any dog declared dangerous by this town , another municipality, county, or state shall remain in force while the dog remains in the City.
Adopted 7th day of September, 1999